By Vicky Verma
In the digital world era, it is hard to find trust between computer-generated imagery and a real one. It takes effort to distinguish the true photographic evidence. While speaking of UFO phenomena, many fakes are shared on the Internet, which are great obstacles to solving the mystery behind unidentified objects flying in the sky. Moreover, some videos include not only objects but also their occupants whose appearance is non-human.
Obviously, from the current human perception, such videos are called fake, but are there any videos showing real aliens? There is no solid evidence to claim so. However, the infamous “Skinny Bob” footage is still not debunked. Although many people call it “obviously fake,” it is just guesswork as they have no proper explanation to prove it.
What is Skinny Bob’s story?
In 2011, a video circulated on the Internet caused a lot of curiosity and debate. The video was uploaded on YouTube by a user called “ivan0135,” and it appears to be the leaked footage of a government agency, allegedly the KGB, interrogating an alien being. The being in the video resembles the typical Grey alien and is said to be from the Zeta Reticuli star system. YouTube user ivan0135 only uploaded four videos that collectively make over 1.9 million views. (Source)
Still from Skinny Bob YouTube video
According to the video, the alien was part of an envoy sent to discuss “matters of mutual concern” with the government agency. The video claims that the aliens were only permitted to meet with high-ranking officials and were escorted by special officers. Though several aliens were said to be present, the one that stood out the most was an alien dubbed “Skinny Bob,” who became a viral sensation. The video sparked much debate within the UFO community.
The video shows an alien resembling a typical “Grey” type with an oversized bald head, slit-like mouth, large expressive eyes, and claw-like hands. The supposed leaked footage is a series of interviews conducted between 1942 and 1969; only a few clips have been leaked. The most well-known clip shows the alien nicknamed “Skinny Bob” sitting in a telepathic interview and footage of the alien from head to toe and in the pool of liquid, where it allegedly sleeps.
These videos purport to show aliens being filmed without their knowledge or permission. One document, 072/E, describes an event in 1961 where the aliens discovered a hidden camera was secretly recording them. This was considered a violation of the treaty between the aliens and the government agency, which stated that filming of the entities should only take place with their permission. The footage shows the aliens outside on a lawn, and their discovery of the hidden camera led to changes in the treaty, but it is not specified what those changes were.
Forensic Analysis on Skinny Bob
Before jumping to any conclusion, it is true that the user tampered with videos, but this does not mean the whole video is forged. A whole website is dedicated to analyzing the Skinny Bob video, checking frame by frame. Skinnybob.info has done tremendous work to unveil the truth behind these sensational videos. The special effects were added along with the text frames taken from elsewhere to make it look authentic.
The very first video Ivan uploaded starts with an image showing the insignia of the KGB, the main security agency of the Soviet Union. Above and below are black bars, seemingly censoring something taken from the documentary The Secret KGB UFO Files, released in 1998. Like this, the website experts unlocked several scenes that are added to these videos.
The experts write: “After extensive investigation and observation of people’s reaction, we can tell you that if it is fake, it is certainly not “obviously.” Some propose authenticity because of a combination of supporting aspects and the lack of direct evidence for fabrication. Usually, people judge based on superficial, personal opinions formed after a glance at the two skinny Bob closeups, accounting for only 29% of the entire material. CG being ubiquitous in motion picture productions nowadays also causes people to have a distorted view of what it takes in terms of effort, time, and money to create such a hoax.
Wasn’t the material debunked with the discovery of post-processing effects and overlays?
No, because what matters is the underlying footage the effects and overlays were applied to. Video editing software allows effects to be applied by drag&drop within seconds, whereas the creation of the footage is a completely different category in terms of effort, time and money. No matter if hoax or real, in both cases it seems unlikely the same person(s) responsible for producing the footage also decided to slap cheap stock effects on the video track to finalize their precious work. We assume this decision was made by someone else in the chain.”
A visual effects artist Ben Phillips was already interested in Skinny Bob back in 2011. He kept an eye on Ivan’s channel for 3 years and noticed the user never logged back in. Only six days after Ivan uploaded the last video, Phillips re-uploaded them to his YouTube channel as one long video. (Source)
Phillips praised the work if it turned out to be fake: “If it is animation… it’s some of the best I’ve seen… and I work in movie effects.” To me…. as a professional special effects technician and creature effects maker… it seems real. More real than any other videos. Normally when we look at good fakes they impress on first viewing but somethings not quite right and under scrutiny, breaks down. This has worked in the sense that it was a ‘wow’ moment… slightly uneasy… excited… and after careful scrutiny just seems to get better.”
Phillips proposed a theory that an entire team would be needed at a cost of £220,000 to create such videos. “It’s very rare for somebody with the talent to be able to create the Skinny Bob clips not to have owned up to it. It’s extremely convincing work… Someone that good has a creative ego that wouldn’t be able to resist claiming their work simply to be noticed… It’s becoming more popular lately because it’s beginning to stand the tests of time. No one I know would try to recreate it because of the time and effort,” he said.
Adam Wells, a director of the short film Shemira, told the Daily Star that he had seen many crude hoaxes, but the Skinny Bob clip “looked had time spent on it.” He also noted that something about the movement of the eyebrows seemed animatronic.
Nigel Watson, a UFO expert, stated that Skinny Bob’s appearance is similar to the typical depictions of aliens that one might expect to see in flying saucer sightings or the Roswell incident. He also mentioned that it resembles the Mekon from the 1950s cartoon, Dan Dare.
Additionally, Watson noted that the alien depicted in the footage resembles a drawing sent to him by an alien abduction victim from the 1970s. Bob looks “quite humanoid and not as strange as you might imagine for a visitor from a faraway solar system,” he continued.
Charley Henley, a VFX supervisor who worked on Ridley Scott’s Alien series, says there are very good reasons why the aliens of our imaginations look so human: “A lot of the designs are tied in with the human anatomy, and I think that is the common theme. We put a lot of humans into the aliens.”